by VR Sreeraman on  June 4, 2010 at 12:48 PM AIDS/HIV News
 FIFA Slammed for Blocking Condoms at World Cup
South African AIDS organizations on Thursday accused football's governing body FIFA of blocking access to condoms and HIV education materials at World Cup stadiums and fan parks.

"To date FIFA has not permitted any civil society organization to distribute HIV or health related information," said the AIDS Consortium, the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society and several other organizations in a statement.

"FIFA has not provided any written confirmation that condoms may be distributed at stadium and within the fan fests."

The groups said FIFA has a "moral obligation" to partner with local organizations in fighting HIV in the world's worst-affected country.

An estimated 5.7 million of South Africa's 48 million people are HIV positive, raising concern about the disease spreading during the June 11 to July 11 World Cup.

In April the country launched the world's largest HIV testing and treatment program, aimed at providing drugs to 80 percent of HIV-positive South Africans and testing 15 million people by the end of June 2011.

The organizations encouraged FIFA to support the new initiative.

"The World Cup is an opportunity to take forward this campaign and to combine sport with messages about HIV prevention and healthy living that can be heard by millions," they said.

There was no immediate reaction from FIFA.

Source: AFP

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